Squiz Today / 27 April 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 27 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your rundown for on-the-run mornings. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

14 / 25
17 / 24
17 / 25
15 / 24
14 / 21
11 / 22
25 / 34
6 / 22

Squiz Sayings

“It’s a crude approximation, a best guess.” 

Said United Nations’ population chief Patrick Gerland of the prediction that India’s population could overtake China’s by the middle of the year. There’s no way of knowing for sure, and it could have already happened. Patrick has a tough gig…

Tapping the brakes on inflation

The latest official inflation figures are out and show that although inflation’s gone up slightly more than economists predicted in January-March, it’s the smallest quarterly increase in more than 12 months. It’s another sign that price increases are slowing down gradually – which, if you’re new to the game, is what the Reserve Bank wants to see. The price of goods and services went up 1.4% over the first quarter of the year, bringing the annual inflation rate to 7%. That’s down from the peak inflation rate of 7.8% recorded in the October-December quarter last year, but it’s still more than double the Reserve Bank’s 2-3% target range.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag… To explain where we’re at, let’s look at what’s behind it. In January-March, the key contributors to inflation were health services (up 4.2%), household gas prices (up 14.3%), and tertiary education (up 9.7%). Experts say some of those increases are to be expected because price changes often come into effect around the start of the year. But the outlier to that is something we’ve mentioned before: steep gas/electricity price hikes. Gas prices have risen 26% in the past 12 months, which the Bureau of Stats reckons is the largest jump on record. Electricity has also gone up by 16%… And that’s all before the bill increases Aussies are expected to be hit with mid this year. Reports say to keep a lid on things, the Albanese Government is toying with extending its price cap on gas for another 18 months, through to mid-2025.

Coalition Treasury spokesperson Angus Taylor wasn’t happy with yesterday’s figures – he says Aussies are struggling under price rises across “a broad range of goods and services”. “It is not confined to specific supply chains, this is rampant inflation right across our economy,” he said. But Treasurer Jim Chalmers reiterated his previous comments that the worst inflation is behind us. He’s also promised more support, saying, “There will be cost-of-living relief in the Budget and it will prioritise the most vulnerable people”. And it’s hard to talk about the cost of living – or ‘cozzie livs’, as Gen Z likes to say – without mentioning interest rates… The RBA’s keeping an eagle eye on inflation and these numbers will weigh heavily on the central bank’s decision on whether to keep the cash rate at 3.6% or raise it – to slow spending/inflation – at its board meeting on Tuesday. Watch this space…

Australian News Business & Finance Economy

Squiz the Rest

Folbigg could walk free

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has accepted there is reasonable doubt that Kathleen Folbigg killed her 4 children due to new evidence. Labelled Australia’s worst female serial killer, the 2nd public inquiry into Folbigg’s convictions is wrapping up this week with the strongest indication yet that she could be released from jail after 20 years. The 55yo has maintained her innocence since her 2003 conviction. Folbigg’s conviction leaned heavily on diary entries expressing her anxieties about motherhood, but claims made about their importance were questioned in this inquiry. And there was new evidence about her children, including that 2 daughters shared a rare gene mutation that may have caused their deaths. Experts say Folbigg could be pardoned or have her case referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal. Law expert Emma Cunliffe said yesterday’s submission from the DPP was “a very important step in the process of exonerating her”.

Australian News Crime

A new Trump case hits court

You might have heard that Donald Trump is in legal hot water, but you’d be forgiven for losing track of the cases… We’re now two days into a lawsuit where the writer E. Jean Carroll is accusing Trump of sexually assaulting her, and overnight Carroll took the stand for an emotional retelling of the chance encounter with Trump in a department store 3 decades ago. Trump is being sued for battery, as well as for defamation related to social media posts in which he denied the attack and called the case a “complete con job”. This Trump case is separate from the hush money case, the Mar-A-Lago classified documents case, the Georgia election interference case, and the Trump Organization fraud case… Trump denies wrongdoing in all of the cases. BTW has anyone made up some Trump legal bingo cards? 

Crime World News

Biden’s Sydney tour

Hours after US President Joe Biden announced that he’d be seeking re-election as the leader of America, there was an equally important announcement: he’s coming to Sydney. Reports that he’s launching his campaign with a dip at Bondi or a spectacular stunt on top of the Harbour Bridge climb have not been confirmed (nor would it make sense…). There will also be some work involved – the trip is the 3rd meeting of the Quad, a summit of leaders from Australia, India, Japan, and the US. Our PM Anthony Albanese looked very pleased as he announced the leaders would be gathering at the Sydney Opera House to discuss “an open, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific that is respectful of sovereignty” (subtext: reining in China…). Sydneysiders can expect a whole lot of hullabaloo around his visit on 24 May, and NSW Premier Chris Minns said his government has already been working for months to minimise disruptions to the city.

Australian News

The Tassie devils, perhaps?

A long-running push for a Tasmanian AFL team seems like it’s about to become a reality, with rumours spreading faster than a cold blast from Antarctica that the federal government will stump up $240 million to build a new 23,000-seat stadium in Hobart. According to multiple media reports, PM Albanese will head to Hobart this weekend to announce funding for a revamp of Macquarie Point, paving the way for the state to be granted an AFL licence. There is some opposition to the redevelopment from state Labor and Greens politicians, but Tassie’s Liberal Premier Jeremy Rockliff is on board with the proposal and is putting $375 million towards it. The stadium would become the home ground for the AFL’s 19th team, with the hot money on the team being called the Devils. The Tassie announcement seems to be the swan song for retiring AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, with reports that Andrew Dillon has been chosen as his successor.


Barbie’s diversity play

Toymaker Mattel has unveiled its first Barbie with Down syndrome as part of its bid to create more diverse dolls. Mattel worked with the US National Down Syndrome Society and medical professionals to design the doll, which features a shorter frame, longer torso, and rounder face that can be characteristic of women with the genetic condition. The US toy giant previously faced criticism that the traditional Barbie doll didn’t represent real women, with one Aussie study finding the likelihood of a woman having Barbie’s body shape was one in 100,000. In response, Mattel has released a number of dolls of different body types, ethnicities, and abilities in recent years. Model Ellie Goldstein welcomed the latest move, saying, “People need to see more people like me out there”. She was also one of 5 people with a disability to appear on the latest cover of British Vogue – a first for the publication.


Apropos of nothing

Scientists have made a weird discovery about elephant seals: when they sleep in the water they simply freefall towards the bottom of the ocean. Meanwhile, an elephant seal dubbed Big Gus has made himself at home in Augusta, Western Oz. Scientists say he’s probably lost – he might have taken a nap and got left behind…

The desert tortoise known as Mojave Max has marked the end of the US winter by poking his head out of his burrow for the first time this year. According to Las Vegas lore, Max is a local marker of the changing seasons (think: a drier version of Punxsutawney Phil of Groundhog Day fame…).

And a moose has wandered into an Alaskan cinema, missing the start of TheSuper Marios Brothers Movie but arriving in time to bury its nose in the garbage bin. An overwhelmed attendant caught the whole encounter on camera. She was not amoosed…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

National Cabinet meeting – Brisbane

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to start her prison term – California

Freedom Day – South Africa

ABS Data Release – International Trade Price Indexes, March

2023 APRA Music Awards

2023 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman finalists announced

2023 Stella Prize winner announced

Birthdays for Lizzo (1988) and Nick Kyrgios (1995)

Anniversary of:
• Ludwig van Beethoven composing Für Elise (1810)
• the Australian Labor Party under Prime Minister Chris Watson becoming the first labour movement-aligned government in the world (1904)
• Sierra Leone declaring independence from the UK (1961)
• RC Duncan patenting the disposable nappy (1965)
• the Korean summit, which saw North and South officially end the Korean war and agree to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons (2018)
• the deaths of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882) and Australian politician and Federation father Sir Henry Parkes (1896)

Squiz the Day

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